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Impact of magnesium on bone health in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Bone 2021 Oct 16;116233. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2021.116233. Online ahead of print.

Background: Magnesium plays a key role in bone health and may, therefore, represent an interesting nutrient for the prevention of bone loss and osteoporosis. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to investigate the impact of magnesium intake from any source on bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), bone turnover markers, and fracture risk in older adults.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted using Embase, Medline Ovid and Cochrane Central from database inception to October 2020. All studies that related magnesium intake with bone health outcomes among adults aged ≥60 years were included. Two investigators independently conducted abstract and full-text screenings, data extractions, and risk of bias assessments. Authors were contacted for missing data.

Results: Once 787 records were screened, six cohort studies, one case-control study and five cross-sectional studies were included. Qualitative evaluation demonstrated a positive trend between higher magnesium intake and higher hip and femoral neck BMD. Meta-analysis of four studies showed a significant positive association between magnesium intake and hip BMD (pooled beta: 0.03, 95% CI 0.01, 0.06, p < 0.05).

Conclusions: This systematic review indicates that a higher magnesium intake may support an increase in hip and femoral neck BMD. Due to limited research no associations with BMD at other sites or fractures were found. There is a need for properly designed cohort studies to determine the association between magnesium intake and bone health in older adults. Next, large and long-term randomized controlled trials in older adults are needed to determine whether an increase in magnesium (supplementation) intake can improve bone health. The combination of several bone nutrients (calcium, vitamin D, protein, magnesium and potentially more) may be needed for the most optimal effect on bone health and to delay or prevent the development of osteoporosis.

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